Forest Service Erects Osprey Nest at Turquoise Lake
If you’re a regular fisherman or hiker out to Turquoise Lake there’s little doubt that you’ve noticed the 90 foot pole at the west end of the lake. Or maybe you’re a racer or crew in town for the Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across The Sky” run this weekend and are wondering what the new addition is at the May Queen Campground.
This week, the US Forest Service erected an osprey nest platform out at Turquoise Lake. The hope is that the platform will encourage the birds to build a nest, breed, and increase fledging populations in the area. The 90 ft utility pole has been placed among lodgepole pines and the surrounding fir forest.
Many locals may remember the long standing osprey nest which could be seen from the Valley View Overlook Site at Turquoise Lake, above the north shore. Last year that nest blew over, creating quite a social media conversation, as the birds’ long-standing home was beloved by many Leadville residents – for generations – as the osprey would return year after year to their nest.
Osprey are beautiful and fascinating birds that play an important role in the area’s ecosystem. These birds are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. Osprey happily build large stick-and-sod nests on telephone poles, or in this case an Excel energy utility pole. The nests are a bulky mass of sticks often five feet in diameter and two to seven feet thick, which could explain why the old one finally blew down from its weight!
While these large, rangy hawks do well around humans, but please enjoy these birds from a distance. Allowing them the space they need will ensure that they continue to thrive at Turquoise Lake.
As with many successful projects, the osprey nest erection was a group effort, including a Leadville Girl Scout Troop, which built the platform with their Dads. Other in-kind and financial contributions were made by the Colorado Chapter #2 Order of Eastern Star, Cutting Edge, Xcel Energy, and the hard working crew at the Lake County Public Works Department.
Leadville Wildlife Biologist Jeni Windorski coordinated the efforts.
It’s one of several osprey nest projects under way locally.
To read about the efforts at Forebay Reservoir above Twin Lakes, connect HERE.